2007 July 22 Sunday
Verlyn Klinkenborg Opposes California Population Growth

Verlyn Klinkenborg, member of the New York Times editorial board and a nature writer who lives in a rural area of New York State, has written a piece in the Times arguing that the projected growth of California's human population to 60 million by 2050 is something we should seek to prevent.

Recently, the California Department of Finance projected that there will be some 60 million people living in the state by 2050. At present there are 36 million. The numbers in themselves are frightening enough, but what I find terrifying is the bland assumption that a two-thirds increase in population is inevitable and that the main problem will be creating the infrastructure necessary to house, feed, educate, transport and govern all those people. To me, the main problem is how to keep them from showing up in the first place.

Of course he makes no mention of why California's population continues to grow even as the natives flee. A liberal on the NY Times editorial board can not accurately discuss reality when to do so would violate taboos. That Klinkenborg could even write about population growth as a problem surprises me.

Picture all the roads and houses and for every 3 that exist picture 2 more getting created on top of wilderness in the next 43 years.

Somehow the numbers in themselves donít really suggest the sobering weight of this projection. To say that for every three Californians now there will be five in 2050 doesnít capture the scale of change. If you said that for every three houses now there will be five in 2050, or for every three cars, ditto, you might be getting a little closer to the visceral feel of the thing.

Californians will still be able to look at wildlife in old movies.

And then there is the impact of all those people on the other species with which they might have shared the Golden State. In 2007, we remain blindly impervious to the life-claims of almost all other forms of life ó to the moral stipulation that their right to life is equivalent to ours. How it will be then I do not know, but if there are indeed 60 million people living in California in 2050, there will be nothing meaningful to be said on the matter, except as a subject of nostalgia.

We have enough people. The year is not 1700. In the year 2007 a continued expansion of the US population lowers the quality of life for the people who are already here. We should put a stop to the immigration that is driving the population growth.

Klinkenborg refers to a speech by James Madison which appears to be his "Address to the Agricultural Society of Albemarle, Virginia" (1818) which he delivered not long after retiring from the Presidency in early 1817. In this 1818 speech Madison voiced his worry that our species would wipe out many and even almost all other species.

On comparing this vast profusion and multiplicity of beings with the few grains and grasses, the few herbs and roots, and the few fowls and quadrupeds, which make up the short list adapted to the wants of man, it is difficult to believe that it lies with him so to remodel the work of nature as it would be remodelled, by a destruction not only of individuals, but of entire species; and not only of a few species, but of every species, with the very few exceptions which he might spare for his own accommodation.

Such a multiplication of the human race, at the expense of the rest of the organized creation, implies that the food of all plants is composed of elements equally and indiscriminately nourishing all, and which, consequently, may be wholly appropriated to the one or few plants best fitted for human use. Whether the food or constituent matter of vegetables be furnished from the earth, the air, or water; and whether directly, or by either, through the medium of the others, no sufficient ground appears for the inference that the food for all is the same.

Parenthetically, what does biomass energy amount to? A way to use even more land for human purposes.

Immigration is driving up the US population and increasing the size of our footprint on the land. The natural areas of California keep shrinking. Haven't they shrunk far enough?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 July 22 02:37 PM  Immigration Demographics

The Superfluous Man said at July 22, 2007 5:26 PM:

78% of the projected growth is Hispanic growth. The balance is Asians, and then blacks, I believe.

Mr. Parker, do you know how much of this is from pre-existing immigrants vs. future immigrants?

Andrew Kurtis said at July 22, 2007 7:01 PM:

I'm waiting for the Sierra Club type Liberals to come up with a clever liberal solution to this problem, something like keeping immigration levels high, but further regulating it so that legal immigrants could only live in the lower population, mostly rural States. (This would mean the States with the highest White percentage populations.) Wow, they could both force more Diversity down our throats & save states like California for a few decades more. Eventually even the illegals would get the hint and leave the overcrowded States too. Think this is nutty? Never underestimate an open-borders Liberal! Give it 5 to 10 years more & a Democrat President & you'll see it suggested.

tommy said at July 23, 2007 3:28 PM:

To paraphrase Milton Friedman, "Itís just obvious you canít have free immigration and a cleaner environment."

RueHaxo said at July 23, 2007 8:50 PM:

Andrew Kurtis:
You're probably onto something. The immigrant population in the South and Midwest would probably skyrocket under President Obama or President Rodham Clinton. Not that W has been better.

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